Yellowstone Park Still Dealing With Summer Visitation Decimation
It will come back. Probably even stronger than ever. Maybe not this year, but the appeal and the mystique are just too powerful.
Nope, you can't keep a good park down. And while visitation numbers will likely remain much lower than original expectations for 2022, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, it is likely that many visitors whose vacation plans were flooded out are already looking ahead to 2023.
The National Park Service has released Yellowstone National Park's August recreation visits. The declines are predictable, which doesn't make things any easier for the small communities and businesses in the area that rely so heavily on tourism.
NPS says that Yellowstone 582,211 recreation visits in August 2022. That is a 37% decrease from August 2021 and a 29% decline from August 2019, the last pre-COVID year of recreation visits.
Much of the decline traces back to the flood that won't soon be forgotten, when on June 13, all entrances to the park closed due to the historic flooding. Visitors were evacuated, vacation plans had to be cancelled or reworked, and the nine-day complete closure of the east, south and west entrances, then limited entry, hammered the park's traditional high-volume visitation months. It wasn't until July 2 that the aforementioned entry restrictions were removed.
For the year, Yellowstone has hosted 2,446,982 visits. Through August of 2021, the number was 3,590,609. Even during the depleted 2020 COVID year, through August, 2,556,528 had persevered closures and restrictions to get to Yellowstone.
There is no guarantee that late-summer/early-fall guests traveling to the park won't still discover some obstacles. If Yellowstone is in your plans in the coming weeks, it is highly recommended that you stay informed about what is open and what might be closed.